Since launching the COVID-19 Community Response Fund on April 3, 2020, Novartis and the Novartis US Foundation have donated $5M in grants and in-kind donations to help US communities provide resources to help keep their residents healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tom Kendris, US Country President, Novartis Corporation, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Novartis US Foundation
Tom Kendris, US Country President, Novartis Corporation, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Novartis US Foundation

We hope the additional 40 grants made possible through the COVID-19 Community Response Fund will make a positive impact in communities throughout the US.

“Earlier this year, the Novartis US Foundation realigned its priorities to support local communities by addressing social determinants of health and reducing disparities of care. The COVID-19 pandemic was an unforeseen event that exacerbated existing disparities of care for many communities across the country. We could not have anticipated this pandemic and its negative impact on the growing issue of health inequities. We are pleased that a pre-pandemic grant to the New Jersey Primary Care Association enabled five NJ community health centers to maintain continuity of care by providing telehealth services to some of the state’s vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19. We hope the additional 40 grants made possible through the COVID-19 Community Response Fund will make a positive impact in communities throughout the US.”

The US Foundation reviewed hundreds of grant proposals and prioritized communities where Novartis employees live and work. As a result, 40 community organizations received grants totaling $4.89M to support COVID-19 response efforts, including:

  • 20 programs focusing on community health including food security and other basic needs, mental health, and social service programs experiencing increased demand due to COVID-19
  • 7 programs supporting health systems and protections for healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic, including distribution of personal protective equipment
  • 7 programs providing digital and telehealth services ranging from delivery of public health information through innovative digital platforms to building capacity for telehealth services and data collection, as well as COVID-19 symptom tracking and information
  • 6 COVID-19 Community Response Funds established by community foundations and other organizations to support local needs

Additionally, Novartis businesses across the US provided nearly $150K in in-kind donations. To support the generosity of Novartis associates, the Novartis US Foundation increased its matching gift allocation to provide a double match for five non-profit organizations working on the frontlines of the pandemic. In partnership with YouGiveGoods, an online platform that facilitates the donation of goods through online purchases, employees donated needed goods and the Novartis US Foundation matched item-for-item up to $500 per employee.

See below to learn more about the organizations that received grants from the Novartis US Foundation:

AIDS Foundation’s Road to Health and Housing project serves homeless adults with serious mental illness or co-occurring disorders. The project strives to increase the availability and ensure coordination of integrated behavioral health, primary health, housing and supportive services resulting in better health outcomes and housing stability. For many in this population, COVID-19 has extended the need for supportive services as this vulnerable population awaits permanent supportive housing. Funds will support basic needs for this population, including housing, food, and other items needed to maintain health and safety in the facilities.

ACCFB's focus is on ensuring that county residents have uninterrupted access to ample food throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and recovery — including residents who find themselves newly in need because of reduced wages or unemployment — by developing new and enhanced programming that protects the community's health and well-being. Programming includes food distribution through partner agencies, development of new distribution sites, emergency food bags and school based distributions.

CASPAR works with people experiencing homelessness to ease the burden on the medical community by addressing social determinants of health including shelter, nutrition and hygiene, mental and physical healthcare services and treatment for addiction disorder are just some of the ways we promote the health and wellbeing of the homeless in Cambridge. The shelter serves about 150 individuals each day, and their Street Team serves an additional 50 individuals each day. Funding will support opening of a new facility to provide shelter while maintaining social distancing, increased cleaning services and supplies, as well as food and hygiene supplies needed due to a drop in donations.

Community Foodbank of NJ is a primary responder to disaster relief across the state and as such, CFBNJ is taking proactive measures to ensure the health of staff, volunteers, agency partners and clients as they continue to serve the NJ community. Nutritious food is key for good health, so it is critical to reach the most vulnerable New Jerseyans during this unpredictable time with the most nutritious food possible. Grant funds will be used to support the Community Foodbank of New Jersey's hunger relief and response operations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. CFBNJ’s goal is to provide uninterrupted service to community partner agencies, increased food security, continued focus on nutrition, and assistance to all who will need it in the longer term. While the need is increasing more each day, currently CFBNJ is experiencing at least a 20 percent increase in need in NJ. Prior to COVID-19, there were close to 900,000 people who were food insecure in New Jersey.

Community Hope brings housing and services together to meet the needs of individuals disabled by mental illness, and for 15 years has been the leading NJ charity saving veterans from homelessness. Funding will help cover the unanticipated expenses of operations at this time including maintaining essential services including onsite counseling/case management services, increased telehealth services, increased isolation in their housing and increased measures to protect staff and essential healthcare providers.

Community Servings provides medically tailored meals through Massachusetts for high-need, high-risk individuals, including food-insecure individuals, dependent children and caregivers who are affected by severe illness and others with compromised immune systems and is working to adapt their model to meet increased demand due to the COVID19 pandemic. Funding will allow for increased meal production, increased number of individuals served, reduced disruption to food supply chain, and other efforts to maintain safety and sanitation.

Durham FEAST, a partnership between the Durham, NC Public Schools, Durham County Government, Food Insight Group and local nonprofits and restaurants, provides meals to over 11,000 food-insecure children and families. In addition to addressing critical hunger needs, this program harnesses the power of partnerships to put local restaurant workers to work and purchase produce from local famers experiencing a surplus in supply.

Eva’s village provides residential substance use disorder (SUD) treatment to indigent men, women, mothers with children and opioid addicted pregnant women and new mothers. Funds will be used to protect the health and safety of clients and staff including food and supplies to sustain shelter residents; providing meals to an increasing number of community members; provide protective equipment to residents and staff; increased telehealth services; and increased cleaning and sanitation services.

Feeding San Diego's Emergency Distributions serve the communities surrounding the North Inland, North Coastal and South Bay areas. These households are from all socio-economic levels, races/ethnicity and ages. The locations where these distributions are held are familiar and trusted community resource within their communities. There are no requirements (income, household size, etc.) to accessing these food distributions. Funds will support increased operational expenses due to demand from vulnerable populations, including low-income children, seniors and others in need.

The Food Bank of Hudson Valley serves a six-county area north of New York City. Distributions have increased 50% since the pandemic due to loss of jobs, school closures and the closing of food pantries, many of which rely on volunteers who are at high risk for COVID-19 including people over 60 years old. Funds will be used to maintain regular food service operations, special distributions of food in areas where other sources of food have closed and need has increased.

God's Love We Deliver provides home-delivery meals to people living with illness. They have been recognized as an Essential Services Provider by the NYC Office of Emergency Management, leading to an increase in clients served during the pandemic. This funding will enable them to cook and home-deliver more than 2 million medically-tailored meals for more than 8,000 people in the New York City area, including at least 500 new clients due to expanded and emerging service needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will be used to purchase shelf-stable food, address increased cleaning needs, purchase equipment needed, including a new van, and support for temporary staff needs due to increased demand of services.

The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) provides thousands of meals to those in need across Eastern Massachusetts. In these uncertain times, GBFB is a first responder, providing uninterrupted access to food for the 140,000 individuals who already rely on us each month. Funds will be used for emergency food purchases, transportation costs for additional deliveries and other increased costs due to demand for services.

Health Leads will activate, train and re-deploy up to 32 Playworks AmeriCorps members & full-time staff in Boston, Mass. as a paid "Advocate Workforce" in collaboration with Playworks, Project Bread, and Boston Public Schools to ensure students and families in need have their essential needs met and have access to all available resources in their community. Advocates will call or send SMS to all guardians on school rosters to ensure food distribution information is understood and break down barriers to accessing all food resources. Ultimately, this short-term workforce may transition to a more permanent and community-based workforce. This collaboration has the potential to be replicated and scaled with school districts, community-based organizations and families Detroit (MI), Salt Lake City (UT), Los Angeles (CA) and other communities.

Funding will help JSUMCF address the increasing incidents of domestic violence caused by COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders that bring potential perpetrators and victims in close contact for extended periods of time. JSUMCF will partner with 180 Turning Lives Around, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending domestic and sexual violence in NJ to implement a program to support domestic violence victims during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will establish domestic violence response teams capable of crisis intervention needs assessment, counseling via telehealth, and coordination and linkage to support services.

The goal of Latino Center for Prevention & Action in Health & Welfare' (DBA Latino Health Access(LHA)) program is to leverage the role of Community Health Workers (CHWs)/Promotoras de Salud to sustain implementation of a culturally appropriate COVID-19 response for low-income immigrants in Orange County, California Funds will be used to establish a community COVID-19 triaging line, increase technological capabilities of the organization to continue expanding virtual services and materials and supplies for community response kits.

Lawrence Hall, one of Chicago's most respected child welfare agencies, will receive support for additional unanticipated expenses our CLINICAL SERVICES team is incurring due to the pandemic. CLINICAL SERVICES' participants are from one or more high barrier population, including youth in foster care, wards of the state and unaccompanied youth, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ individuals. Funds will be used for increased operational costs due to cleaning, increased technology use for distance learning, food and other daily needs.

Main St. Counseling Services provides accessible mental health services to vulnerable residents of Greater Essex County. They have seen an increased demand for services from clients including individuals and families normally treated through their main facility and school-based services. Main Street will add over 1000 more counseling sessions at a minimum, resulting in at least an 87% reduction in trauma symptoms and 91% improvement in overall daily functioning.

Funding will allow the Northern Illinois Food Bank to continue their primary program of food acquisition and distribution to serve 13 Northern Illinois counties with a network of agencies and programs to provide food assistance at no cost to neighbors in need. Funding contributed to the Food Bank supports the operation of four food distribution centers (Geneva, Joliet, Park City, and Rockford) and transportation expenses related to picking up donated food and delivering to agencies and program sites, as well as purchasing food that is in high-demand, including highly nutritious food and core staples. The Food Bank is anticipating increased food expense over the coming months as it is navigating disrupted food supply chains and continuing to provide a robust shopping list to partner agencies and direct distribution programs.

Pine Street Inn operates 4 emergency shelters, serving nearly 5,000 people annually and 850 units of supportive housing. Due the increased vulnerability of homeless individuals during the pandemic, Pine Street has remained open and mobilized a coordinated response to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the individuals they serve. Funds will cover part of the unbudgeted, incremental costs of responding to COVID-19. This includes the additional supplies, food, cleaning services, and staff costs that make it possible to respond to the urgent and immense needs faced by the Inn.

The Wilson County Meals on Wheels Program, which already had a significant wait list, has seen an increase in demand for services during the pandemic. This support will increase the organization’s capacity to deliver meals to these medically at-risk seniors. Funding will support food purchases, increase staffing, the purchase of a delivery truck and other operational needs, resulting in a 30% increase in people served.

AltaMed is one of the largest Federally Qualified Health Centers in the US serving a wide geographic area in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. This grant will support an increase in COVID-19 testing among low-income and underinsured patients; support infrastructure to allow for the increase in telehealth services and to launch a social needs triaging line for high-risk patients to link them to social services, including access to food, shelter and other basic needs.

Americares is providing support for emergency response efforts in the United States for the Coronavirus global pandemic, including distribution of PPE and other efforts to support health workers including training and technical assistance for health providers and partners on Infection Prevention and Control, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS).

Direct Relief provides support for immediate and ongoing emergency response efforts to address the coronavirus outbreak in U.S., including replenishment of PPE Strategic Emergency Stockpile so that these types of products are readily available for this and future disease outbreaks or other emergencies. They are also responding to critical need for PPE among the nearly 1,000 FQHCs and Free Clinics across the nation and working to increase HC System capacity to meet projected ICU needs.

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center is providing COVID-19 testing for first responders in East Boston, Rever, Winthrop, and Chelsea. In addition, testing will be provided to critical infrastructure employees working with high risk populations, such as staff at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and shelters. Funding will supplement governmental funds to achieve testing capacity of 450 people per day.

Heart to Heart International Disaster Response Team has developed an Infection Prevention Control Training webinar for medical and non-medical workers. This training is based on CDC and WHO guidance and was developed with input from infection disease experts that are part of HHI’s volunteer networks. This training is being made available free of charge to non-profit organizations working on the front lines as well as through their national partnership with the National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. HHI also works with their partner networks to procure and distribute essential medical supplies in the US and globally.

Given new restrictions around visitors in hospitals, hospitalized children have been affected by having limits on caregivers’ visits as well as less access to play areas and other spaces that allow for quality of life during hospitalization. Project Sunshine has launched a pilot to deliver enhanced programming to allow Child Life Specialists to connect with patients and address social-emotional needs. Enhanced programming includes secure telemedicine platforms to reach isolated patients and deliver therapeutic programming. Project Sunshine has also upgraded their website to provide expanded online access to research-based resources to the patients they serve. In addition, Project Sunshine will provide 200,000 activity kits to hospitals across the country to provide continuity of these services that provide relief for anxiety and isolation.

Funds will be used to provide direct support patients and caregivers throughout St. Joseph's Health who are impacted by the pandemic. At St. Joseph's University Medical Center/Children's Hospital in Paterson, a sizeable percentage of the catchment area comprises indigent, minority, immigrant, and/or single-parent families who have nowhere else to turn during the COVID-19 pandemic. Priorities and use of funds vary day by day as the pandemic grows and evolves.

Funds support the development and implementation of MyGo2Support, which provides a unique, customized digital psychosocial program for people with cancer, survivors, family members, and caregivers, providing integrated remote physical, behavioral, and environment of need (social determinants) support. MyGo2Support will: reinforce CSCCNJ's evidence-based psychosocial support, programs, and interventions to provide higher degrees of participant activation; provide individualized population scalability to support people no matter where they are in their cancer journey, addressing expressed needs when intervention is needed most; (3) reinforce care and survivorship plans from providers, cancer centers, health plans, and pharmaceutical companies. MyGoToSupport is needed more than ever since the COVID-19 crisis and the increased stress and anxiety experienced by the community.

The Commons Project Foundation has created COVIDcheck, a free public digital health service that is available via web, app, and messaging platforms. COVIDcheck enables people to assess their risk for COVID-19 and receive up-to-date guidance based on WHO guidelines and subscribe to receive updates and alert messages from public health officials.

Hyacinth will receive support for prevention strategies and treatment programs to maintain its ability to reach individuals living with and at most risk of HIV and other STI's throughout the state of New Jersey. With seven offices in the main urban hubs of the state, Hyacinth works with communities who are the most vulnerable for HIV, including those who are incarcerated, the LGBTQ+ community, homeless, injection drug users, sex workers, medically uninsured and those who are undocumented. These populations are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. The CDC has issued statements indicating that the LGBTQ+ and community living with HIV are of the greatest risk, due to many having comorbidities and other debilitating health issues. Funds will support efforts around implementing telehealth and other services to maintain continuity of care.

Icahn has developed a remote patient monitoring platform to track symptoms and biologic data of COVID patients from home. Healthcare providers review data daily and cases are triaged only when needed. This program was piloted in March with results that reduced ER visits, reduce readmissions and improve home monitoring. It has also improved patient satisfaction by creating a continuous, trusted link between patient and the health system. Funding will allow for rapid scaling of the program nationally and globally. The platform will be offered free of charge to health systems wanting to implement.

Stay Calm and Take Charge! provides digital access to Kid power’s physical and social-emotional safety and coping skills, strategies and support services to support children, teens, and adults with disabilities, who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These populations have seen an increase in anxiety and fear related to illness, school closure, and other disruption of their basic needs. Programs will be available in multiple languages to meet the varied needs of the population they serve. Initial programs will target schools and other venues in California, Illinois and North Carolina.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. This grant will build and strengthen their digital platform for dissemination of mental health information related to COVID-19, in support of those most at risk. As public awareness increases, Americans are experiencing increased mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and despair, resulting increased demand for support through NAMI’s helpline and other services.

Support will enable rapid deployment of flexible resources to organizations in Greater Boston that are working with communities disproportionately affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

In collaboration with the City of Chicago, The Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metro Chicago launched the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund to unite the funds raised by Chicago’s philanthropies, corporations and individuals so they may be disbursed to nonprofit organizations across the region.

Established by the Community Foundation of New Jersey, the fund will provide grants to existing organizations with a demonstrated track record of caring for vulnerable communities. One hundred percent of every dollar received online by NJPRF will go to organizations that provide essential services to those in need and to assist those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

East Bay Response Fund will rapidly deploy resources to organizations addressing the social and economic impacts of the broader COVID-19 outbreak, including the immediate needs of communities and organizations affected by coronavirus-related closures.

The North Carolina Community Foundation has established the North Carolina Healing Community Fund, which will provide critical resources for nonprofit organizations in North Carolina that are impacted by COVID-19. The Fund’s focus will be to support communities that disproportionately affected by the virus and underserved by other sources of financial assistance.

The San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund is rapidly deploying resources to nonprofit organizations that are supporting low-income workers, families and vulnerable communities most affected by the coronavirus crisis.